We talked to Marija Kosanovic, HR Manager at Gebrüder Weiss, about how the company has coped with challenges such as working from home, but also returning to offices. She also reveals if there are any work processes which will never go “back to the old”, as well as how the changed conditions have influenced the HR sector.
After nearly two years of the pandemic and the changed working conditions, what are your conclusions regarding working from home?
– Considering that we are a logistics-transport company, where the nature of the business requires presence (storage, forwarding etc.), working from home was entirely new for us and a challenge in a way. As transparency and equal treatment of the employees are something we value highly, we were seeking a model which, on one hand, would protect the health of all employees, while on the other, not affect the work processes. In the end, at every moment, we had employees who worked at the company premises, but also those who worked from home, depending on the sector, the nature of the job and the possibility of remote work. We also introduced hybrid models of team work and job division, considering that some processes require presence in one section, but plenty of activities can also be done from home. The results we have achieved in the past two years, the preserved health and the satisfaction of the employees show us that we have managed to do so.
Have the employees at Gebrüder Weiss gone back to their work places and what kind of a challenge does this return entail? If not, why and what is the advantage of remote work?
– Most of our employees are at their work places at the company, as I said, due to the nature of our business. There are still situations in which it is possible to work from home for certain positions and in situations which require it. From this perspective, it can be said that the return to the work place has not led to challenges. A bigger challenge for us was how to create conditions for working from home, which we solved at the start of the pandemic.
Do you believe that these circumstances have forever changed the way the job is done and what will not go back to the way it was?
– It is certain that the circumstances in which we have been in the past two years have considerably affected and changed the way we work, in nearly all industries. We have learned that different solutions are possible, work form home is no longer seen as a benefit, but as a regular circumstance. Flexibility in work and creation of processes, accelerated digitization, focus on finding quick and implementable solutions, full adaptation to client demands, special focus on employees’ health. Also, the pandemic has put logistics and transport in a segment of special importance. Availability of goods, openness of the borders, deliveries to the home address, as well as meeting the needs of the economy and the individual quickly led us, as a company, into the process of digitization, creation of simple and usable tools. For example, what sets us apart is our myGW portal app, which we successfully implemented in 2021, and which facilitates, for our clients, communication, monitoring the shipment from the starting to the ending point, which unifies the necessary documentation in a single place and, as the key benefit, considerably facilitates our employees’ work.
How have the changed working conditions affected the processes in the HR sector?
– The HR sector was put in the spotlight at the beginning of the pandemic and I would say that it’s not leaving the stage yet. The biggest focus was certainly on following the regulations and guidelines, but it was of great importance to adapt the way we work, especially in the segment of selection and recruiting of candidates and introducing the employees to the job. The labor market has changed considerably in the past few years. The candidates are ready to explore more, to choose employers carefully, and the positive experience of the candidates in the selection process directly makes the employer more desirable in the market.
We reacted fast, adapted and shortened the selection process, introduced online interviews, so today, from the initial interview to the final feedback, no more than a week passes. Also, regarding the introduction of employees to the job, we have used to the furthest extent the existing digital solutions and the myOC platform for employees’ learning and development. The platform features presentations, video materials and interactive content, which introduce the new employees to our values, way of work, business model. Also, education related to the programs and tools we use are available, from the basic ones, like mail, portal, Office package, to specific programs, developed solely for the purposes of Gebrüder Weiss.
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